School Psychology is the specialty of applying psychological theories, methods and interventions to children and the school community system. Within school psychology, there are several areas of application.
Assessment There is the area of assessment of intelligence, emotional functioning and educational/learning needs. This application is one reason that school districts maintain school psychologists. This is an area that is mandated within special education law.
Counseling School psychologists provide individual and group counseling in schools as part of their role in meeting the needs of children both who are classified and mandated for counseling as part of their special education needs and for children who may be at risk for developing problems and would benefit from counseling as a preventive intervention.
Consultation The school psychologist often functions as a consultant with parents, teachers and administrators to help develop or modify educational programs and approaches, behavior management methods, and other interventions to meet the social, emotional, behavioral and educational needs of students. This approach is one of the most cost-effective and efficient methods of utilizing the expertise of a psychologist in a school system and community.
School psychologists are also able to provide expertise in areas of school development such as research, program development, committee projects, staff development, classroom workshops and parenting classes among other possible roles.
A key role of school psychologists is to work within the special education system and help administer assessments and individualized education within the legal framework of the special education law, Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, often referred to as IDEA. Within IDEA, there are thirteen disability categories which have specific criteria within the law.
Disability Categories under IDEA
1. Autism 2. Deaf-Blindness 3. Deafness 4. Emotional Disturbance 5. Hearing Impairment 6. Mental Retardation 7. Multiple Disabilities 8. Orthopedic Impairment 9. Other Health Impairment 10. Specific Learning Disability 11. Speech or Language Impairment 12. Traumatic Brain Injury 13. Visual Impairment Including Blindness